Local content grants: Government information portal awards to firms first

This week there was much buzz about the Kenya 2009 census results, the on-going contest among our mobile networks, and other developments in the Kenyan online content space. What may have passed some of us in the midst of the noise is the announcement of one category of winners for the first round of Local Content and Software Applications Grant. As earlier mentioned on this blog, the initial processes of the grant had a number of useful insights if the ICT Board's post-application survey was to go by.

Applicants for the grant in the government information portal / firms category were announced on 31st August 2010. In this category, seven proposals were chosen from a list of 166 proposals by firms according to the ICT Board's press statement. The seven proposals were
  1. Octopus Solutions Limited - HIV and AIDS in the workplace e-Learing Course - To assist implementation of the HIV and AIDS work place policy among civil servants
  2. Infotrack Strategic Solutions Ltd - Teacher's Portal - Linking Kenyan teachers with their employer (The Teachers Service Commission)
  3.  iBid Labs - Kenya Online Museum  - Multimedia documentation of Kenya's rich history
  4. Foundation Support Services (FSS) Ltd - IVR Tax Filing Solution - A multilingual platform for Kenyans to file tax returns based on Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology
  5. BTI Millman Company Ltd - eMazingira Software Application - Crowd sourcing application for documenting and collecting information on environmental degradation and abuse using the Ushahidi platform
  6. RiverCross Technologies Ltd - EDUWEB- To create a comprehensive list and interactive map of all education institutions in Kenya
  7. JBA Advertising Co Ltd  - Lost and Found Project - To assist Kenyans to find their lost official documents such as national ID cards 
Needless to say, successful implementation of the above proposals alone is bound to make a huge impact  to Kenyans, solving some of their most basic problems.  The proposed projects also have potential for fostering a productive online culture and the growth of our knowledge economy.

It is noteworthy that the ICT board did not announce winners for the other grant categories a per the schedule earlier promised. The missed target is definitely a disappointment for many stakeholders watching - in Kenya any unexpected / unexplained delays in such a process can result in all sorts of conspiracy theories. Nevertheless the board was kind enough to make public more finer details about the remaining categories and the number of applicants as follows :-
  • Category A: Individuals - Private Sector Digital Content and Software Applications Grants - 133 applicants
  • Category B: Firms - Private Sector Digital Content and Software Applications Grants - 256 applicants
  • Category C: Individuals - Government Information Portal - 112 applicants
The board went further to promise announcement of the successful grantees for remaining categories on 28th September 2010. With the earlier missed targets for announcement of  evaluation results, it remains doubtful that the new target can be achieved. The doubt remains considering that the first category results announced so far cover barely a quarter of the entire round's applications.

Videos related to the ICT board's announcement at the Serena Hotel can be found here